Ashton Marra Published

Blankenship on Trial: Prosecution Begins Connecting the Dots


In this week’s episode of “Blankenship on Trial,” host Scott Finn discusses the latest witness to take the stand, Performance Coal President and Upper Big Branch mine operator Chris Blanchard, with West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Ashton Marra and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Hissam. 

As he took the stand Thursday, Blanchard began connecting the dots between what was going on in the mines, the lack of regard for safety and the advanced notice given to miners when federal inspectors were on site, and former CEO Don Blankenship himself. 

Blanchard twice testified to specific conversation with Blankenship in which he was directed to skirt safety regulations or notify miners.

Former Upper Big Branch miner Stanley “Goose” Stewart shared an emotional testimony with jurors this week, detailing the “code of silence” between the miners at UBB who refused to report the unsafe working conditions they were in.